Unique Critiques

Decide: Work smarter, reduce your stress, and lead by example

Business Book Review

Business Book Review

Just finished McClatchy’s Decide.  This book rode the grey line between business and self help.  Typically, I’m not a huge fan of the self help genre.  Each of the self help books always seem to sleeze their way into the science section like homeopathic remedies pretending to be medicine.  Then you find out that the St. John’s Wart you shelled fifty bucks for at the GNC is nothing more than rice powder and cilantro.  Science, like real drugs, takes the rigor of the scientific method (or FDA trials to endlessly extend the analogy), not just some quack spouting out the theory of that particular Tuesday.

There is some science behind Decide although it is pretty loose.  McClatchy’s central thesis is that we can divide all sources of human motivation into two categories: to move toward Gain or Prevent Pain.  He then goes on to explain that most of us spend all of our time on Preventing Pain because this is what we have to do.  We have to pay bills, we have to go to the grocery, we have to work, etc…  However, it is the gain tasks, those tasks that can always wait, that we don’t have to do but that we yearn to do, that bring us the most significant and positive results in our life.

I think that all of us inherently understand this.  This is the story of broken dreams and the reason why we see so many drones on their way toward 2 hour commutes on the day to day cattle run.  It’s the reason for road rage and pet punching.  If we could all focus on gain a little bit more, none of us would burnout and we would all live fulfilled lives and their would be much rejoicing.  yay.

The problem with all of this, of course, is how the hell do you pull it off?  This is where the self help comes in and we transition into Stephen Covey lite.  There are valid points here, manage your time, prioritize, blah blah blah.  What it ultimately comes down to is making the decision to prioritize the things that are really important to you and to budget the time in your life to do these things.  This will result in less burnout, more self discovery and true self identity.

I believe him but I’m a realist.  Not all people have the discipline or drive to follow a dream.  Those that do are leaders.  Those that don’t are everyone else.  My advice to those struggling with this: turn off the TV and start living.

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